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HOW TO HONOR YOUR COUNTRY.

I don't care if I did very little today aside from watching the last half-hour of Scarface and re-hanging a few prints in my stunning, New York Times Style Section-worthy remodeled apartment. It's funny, because I usually spend a great deal of time self-flagellating if I don't write for at least an hour or two each day. It's sort of an insane thing I do, knocking myself around like that, BUT ALL OF THAT REGRET, GUILT AND PUNISHMENT WILL MAKE ME WIN. (only if, by "win," i mean "die of lower g.i. cancer.")

Anyway, I wasn't bothered by my lack of discipline today, and not just because rehanging pictures can be forced into the "doing something" box if you're really cheating. Instead, I feel like I still came out on top solely because of an amazing ice cream choice I made yesterday and for which I reaped the benefits just a few minutes ago.

Uncle Louie G's is a local ice cream chain with franchise locations bookending my neighborhood from its northeast and southwest corners. They've other locations in Brooklyn, Manhattan and beyond, but I've always considered Brooklyn their home. In fact, the first time I enjoyed their ice cream was from one of their original (i think) locations far out on Coney Island Avenue. Horrible spot for ice cream. Really, it's a horrible spot for anything except perhaps vehicular manslaughter or O.D.ing on Dran-O. My optometrist took me there one night and, as we were licking the frost off a pair of fruit ices, he pointed to a spot across the street and said, "that's the police precinct where Abner Louima was sodomized." Delicious.

I love this franchise, mostly because it's not Haagen-Dazs. I would bet a lot of people would agree on this point, and favor its "little guy made good" flavor and relatively inexpensive portions. (I say relatively, because I just found out a fresh-packed pint is $4.75. New York City!) It's strange, because I really find myself wanting Uncle Louie G to win for self-imagined altruistic reasons as if as an independent business owner he isn't going to let his profits go to his head. Like, somehow, because Louie G's employees are all teenaged around-the-way girls and his brand's edges are a little rougher than the typical multi-national ice cream chain, it makes him a local hero instead of a textbook capitalist. This belief, however, is difficult to reconcile with the giant yellow Humvee Uncle Louie G parks outside his Union Street franchise location. That Humvee says, "Guess what? I'm not exactly selling this ice cream at cost. Now get back on the curb, fat man." It's especially sorrowful since he clearly isn't really reinvesting his profits back into his brand. He's been making all sorts of sad and temporary business mistakes Now Serving Hot Soups in the Winter! and his logo (and brand identity) is still a piece of royalty-free clip-art from Microsoft. Others would argue that all of these sharply cut corners and short-sighted profit models are part of the brand's charms, but I can't help looking at that Humvee and thinking, Man, I know a lot of great illustrators who could freshen up your logo for a fraction of the $115,000 you spent on that urban military vehicle.

But I digress. Bottom line: Uncle Louie G fucks shit up ice cream style. He carries a great selection of flavors, and they all equally promote the production of thick, creamy mucous. I love it up. Plus, they allow you to mix flavors in a cup, cone, or pint at no extra cost. And yesterday I made a completely inspired choice: Banana Fudge Swirl COMBINED WITH Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch. As I announced my flavor combination, I saw the expression of young girl behind the counter shift dramatically. She became blanched, and looked not at me, but past me, as if at a vision of the Virgin Mother. When she was scooping the flavors I saw the pint bucket trembling in her hands.

Banana + Chocolate + Peanut Butter is unbeatable ice cream kung fu. And today, as I dug into it, the first few spoonfuls were sweet and rich, but also strangely salty. At first I naturally assumed it was the peanut butter, but this was a different kind of salt. It was almost a brine. I dragged a few more scoops up from the bottom of the container and held each taste on my tongue, feeling out the salt, trying to separate it from the other flavors. Suddenly, my muscles locked and the gigantic ice cream ladle dropped from my mouth. "The salt," I cried. "It's my own tears, my tears of joy." I was crying, and it was beautiful. So today I didn't write, but I remain completely satisfied.

WE FIRST MET ON 05.31.2004

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